Share
Explore BrainMass

Sociology of Health and Illness

The sociology of health and illness is the study of the interaction between society and health.

Sociologists may be concerned at "how social life impacts morbidity and mortality rates and how morbidity and mortality rates impact society."¹ Those who work in this field also looks at health and illness in relation to social institutions such as the family, work, school and religion. It is also important to study as well as the "causes of disease and illness, reasons for seeking particular types of care, and patient compliance and noncompliance".¹

Health, or lack of health was once attributed to the biological or natural conditions around someone. Sociologists have demonstrated that the "spread of diseases is heavily influenced by the socioeconomic status of individuals, ethnic traditions or beliefs, and other cultural factors."²

Sociology of health and illness looks at three areas³:

  1. The conceptualization
  2. The study of measurement and social distribution
  3. The justification of patterns in health and illness

Patterns of health and illness vary immeasurably across time and space and within different types of societies. Sociologist Kevin White explains that a sociological perspective of an illness would provide insight on what external factors caused the demographics who contracted the disease to become ill.²

Sociology of health and illness also requires a global approach of analysis because the influence of societal factors varies throughout the world. On average, as Gordon explains, "life expectancies are considerably higher in developed, rather than developing or undeveloped, societies and there has historically been a long-term decline in mortality within industrialized societies."³ There are different factors that sociologists look at depending on the community. Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America all have different, intersecting factors that affect the relationship between society and health.

Sociologists of health and illness also look at things such as industrial pollution, environmental pollution, accidents at work, and stress related diseases. Sociologist Marshall Gordon notes growing trends in "the studies of epidemiology show that autonomy and control in the workplace are vital factors in the etiology of heart disease."³

 

 

References:

1. Mechanic, D. (1990). The role of sociology in health affairs. Retrieved May 8, 2014, from http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/9/1/85.full.pdf

2. White, Kevin (2002). An introduction to the sociology of health and illness. SAGE Publishing. pp. 4–5. ISBN 0-7619-6400-2.

3. Marshall, Gordon. "Health and illness, sociology of." A Dictionary of Sociology. 1998. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Nov. 2009.

Differences Between a Sociopath and a Psychopath

Describe the mental state of the sociopath and psychopath. How are they similar and how do they differ? Articulate which of the two personalities presents the biggest threat to Homeland Security and law enforcement, and why? Relate how an agent for Homeland Security could identify an individual as having a psychotic personalit

Habit influences are discussed.

300 words of literature summations are embedded to discuss how social demographic factors (level of allowances and living environment (living in campus or with family) affect students' breakfast habits.

United States Healthcare for Poor and Middle Class

I need help writing a paper on Healthcare for Poor Amongst the Middle Class. This paper is to target families that live in low to middle class communities. I need help with topics such as explaining the issue to create a prevention plan to solve the problem. I need help identifying Stakeholders, treatment methods, descriptio

The Reduction in Morbidity and Mortality Rates in the USA

Identify one explanation for the reversal in morbidity and mortality rates during the past century, either in the U.S. or globally. Explain how applying community health education theories might have contributed to the reduction in morbidity and mortality. Please indicate references....thank you in advance for any assistance you

On Robotic Surgery: Complications, Risks, Regulation, Impact

Hello, I need essay help on the topic of Psychological Considerations and Sociological Effects of robotic surgery. I need help addressing 3 areas in this essay in the following areas: - Different health complications and risks may arise from using robots in surgery, which include - Patient factors, anatomy and clinical histo

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

"CAM therapies have been in existence for hundreds of years. While many of these therapies are commonly used in non-Western societies their popularity is increasing steadily. In fact, large numbers of American consumers are using CAM currently in an effort to pre-empt disease and disability or to promote health and a sense of we

Understanding the Sick Role Model

What are the four aspects of the sick role model (Parsons 1951)? According to Parsons, medicine is an institution for the social control of deviant behavior. Do you agree or disagree with this view? Why or why not? What is the patient-physician relationship according to Cockerham? Which two sociological examples of the sick r

Depression Rates

Studies suggest that blacks are more depressed than whites, given their increased exposure to race-related and generic stress. Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Why? Are depressed moods and race related? State at least two studies that refute the statement. Justify your answers with appropriate research and reasoni

HIV/AIDS and preventive health care plan

The origins of HIV/AIDS and what could be done in the future to prevent the recurrence of a similar epidemic. This discussion will explore sexual risk behaviors and alcohol use that relates to AIDS/HIV. As well, it will elaborate on how stigma can hinder preventive health care programs.

Prevention of Tobacco

Create a discussion regarding the prevention of tobacco use among young people of today. Incorporate risk factors and factors that influence this behavior. Discuss cessation programs that are geared toward youth and discuss their efficacy rates and factors that may improve them.

Mutual Help Groups

The mutual-help groups (AA, NA, etc.) have a value to many and have some limits for others. As a therapist, how do you value these groups? How do you use them in your practice? What do you perceive to be their strengths and limits in traditional practice?

Diversity in Addictions Counseling

I need assistance understanding groups (including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics/Latinos, and African Americans) in relation to addictions. I need to note the differences in dealing with each group, specifically taking into account possible prevalence patterns, socioeconom

Different Types of Medical Care in High Income Nations

Discuss the difference types of medical care in high income nations around the world as well as describe which one is the most beneficial for a country with population over 300 million. Additionally, review some solutions to the problem of healthcare.

Sociological Imagination Example

The process of interpreting your individual life in the context of your community or the society in which you live is called sociological imagination. Use being an alcoholic or drug addict and the broader impact of alcoholism/drug addiction on society as an example.

Retirement in the USA

What is the best and/or right age to retire in the USA? What constitutes a successful retirement?

Dramaturgical Perspective

In one succinct paragraph, describe the dramaturgical perspective. (What distinguishes dramaturgy from other sociological approaches?) Next, describe an "ordinary" situation in which you recently took part, and analyze it using dramaturgical concepts. (Who took part? What happened? How did it happen? How did people "act" during

HELP WITH MEDICAL SOCIOLOGY

The Roman Catholic Church is considered to be a major contributor to the framing of hospital systems, as an extension of its duty to succor the sick and indigent. Early hospitals, although lacking in strict hygienic practices, promoted social equity as a means to care for marginalized members of society. The poor, aged, homeless

Summarize positive lessons about social illness prevention.

What positive lessons can be learned about social illness prevention? What positive lessons and drawbacks can be learned about the development of health policy and individual lifestyle programs relating to personal choices? Justify your answers with appropriate research and reasoning

History of Psychology Resources

I am having trouble finding resources in order to fill out the attached document. I just need help with finding the objective, causal, and experimental resources for the following psychologists (in the attached document).

Validity

Ms. Jones, Could you please help me understand the following in the attached study? I am especially having problems with identifying threats to validity. Identify the central claims of the study. Characterize the type of method(s) used. Identify actual threats to validity. Drawing on Validity Typology and Validity

Evidence-Based Practice

I need help understanding the following: The label "objective" is typically used only in reference to empirical evidence. Why is this typical? The APA Task Force bases its definition of evidence-based practice on the conception formulated by the Institute of Medicine. What is this definition and what is the relevance or

Sample Quantitative Research Proposal

I need help with developing an abbreviated quantitative research plan. Here is the research problem: Health disparities are a growing concern in the U.S. There are also a significant proportion of people with limited or no health insurance which may prevent them from receiving adequate health care, medication, and the use p

Social security burden on the new generation.

What is the possible increased burden on the younger population to compensate for health care cost, lost income, housing needs with a lesser population contributing to Social Security due to the longevity of the aging population?

Need help with paper on exercise and heart disease

I need help getting started with paper discussing the benefits of exercising for the elderly, the types of heart disease risk factors that can be eliminated or modified, and which of these factors most significantly affect healthy aging. I need scholarly sources with response.

Social Security in Trouble

When looking at replacement income for prior earnings, the United States ranks 26th on the list, while Greece is 3rd. What are some of the causes of this variance? What is the role of its Public Pension Replacement Rates on its debt burden? This is part of a question that I need to answer for a 4 page paper. I am having trouble

Economic conditions and effect on person's life

Could you please get me started on the following question? Historical events like the Great Depression, World Wars, and pandemics have had a marked impact on an individual's life course. How do you expect the current world wide economic downturn to impact those living in this era? Thanks

Presentation on Adulthood

Assistance needed on powerpoint presentation on adulthood on one of these topics listed below. Development theory The effect of work and stress on adult development Retirement A mental health issue Physical changes and adjustment Parenting and grandparenting in the middle and older adult years